Obama Clinton Beef
Published: May 16, 2012
Obama Clinton Beef, Des Moines, IA–Mitt Romney seems to have found a constant companion on the campaign trail these days. It’s not his wife. And it’s not any of the revolving cast of veep wannabees who have hit the hustings with the presumptive nominee over these last weeks.
Speaking at the Fort Des Moines hotel here Tuesday to about 200 people under a “Cut the Spending” banner, Romney name-dropped Clinton, as if he was a Friend of Bill.
“Almost a generation ago, Bill Clinton announced that the era of big government was over, even a former George McGovern campaign worker, like President Clinton, was signaling to his own party that Democrats should no longer try to govern by proposing a new program for every problem,” Romney said. “President Obama tucked away the Clinton doctrine in his large drawer of discarded ideas, along with transparency and bipartisanship.”
Romney has invoked Clinton in previous speeches, but this time he went a bit further, suggesting that there is something more under the surface between Clinton and Obama.
“It’s enough to make you wonder if maybe it was a personal beef with the Clintons,” Romney said. “Probably, it runs much deeper than that.”
In some ways, Romney has taken a page from Newt Gingrich’s playbook—the former GOP candidate also waxed nostalgic about the good ole days back when Clinton was in the White House and Gingrich was House speaker.
The strategy, of course, is obvious, if a little heavy handed—paint Obama as more like Jimmy Carter, rather than as a New Democrat in the mold of Clinton.
Clinton has already emerged as one of Obama’s most visible surrogates, appearing in a video marking the death of Osama bin Laden, and will likely be used to gin up support among so-called Reagan Democrats—white, blue collar workers, particularly—and Romney can perhaps mute some of Clinton’s power by suggesting that Clinton isn’t all in with Obama.
But by invoking Clinton, Romney risks poking the bear in some ways, and perhaps even casting himself as a version of Clinton. Praising Clinton, even in a backhanded way, isn’t exactly a way to solidify support among the religious right.
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